CORONAVIRUS: Already packed, Goodman expects Lyon County court docket to explode once trials return Featured

CORONAVIRUS: Already packed, Goodman expects Lyon County court docket to explode once trials return KVOE News file photo

Prosecutors across Kansas have challenging schedules ahead as they work through ongoing docket adjustments due to coronavirus.


Lyon County Attorney Marc Goodman attested to that topic on KVOE's Talk of Emporia on Monday. Goodman's prosecutors haven't held a trial in a year due to COVID protocols, and there are now 60-80 cases at least awaiting trial. He expects the trial process will be lengthy -- perhaps up to a year to catch up on current cases -- and that doesn't consider the ongoing new criminal cases or cases awaiting formal filing from last year. Lyon County had over 500 criminal cases filed last year, which reflected a spike in domestic violence cases as well as ongoing issues with drug-related crime. Goodman says that's low when considering the actual amount of crime last year.

Goodman says he's not sold on the use of Zoom or YouTube for the hearing process because he's seeing a "laxity" now in effect, with suspects smoking or occasionally shirtless in hearings. Also, he says results of the county's use of mediation hearings to speed certain cases along has varied by the day.

Goodman also says his prosecutors have not put any extra emphasis on resolving cases through plea agreements as COVID-19 continues. He says his staff does a good job in preparing cases and the pleas reflect valid terms as seen by his attorneys. Victim impacts and sentencing ranges also factor into those decisions.

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